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Egypt denies hosting Naomi Campbell's wedding

Reports said supermodel to wed in Luxor temple

Egypt’s Supreme Council for Antiquities denied rumors that British supermodel Naomi Campbell will hold her wedding ceremony at a Pharaonic temple in the southern city of Luxor.

The Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA), an affiliate of the Culture Ministry which is in charge of the protection of archeological sites, has not been notified of Campbell’s desire to celebrate her marriage to Russian millionaire Vladislav Doronin in the Luxor Temple, said SCA top advisor Mohammed Hussein.

"This is an insult"

“Even if she asked for that, we would definitely refuse,” he told AlArabiya.net. “Our temples are not wedding halls. This is an insult.”

Hussein explained that Luxor Temple, which is located on the east bank of the River Nile, is a historic archeological site that should not be turned into a venue for celebrations and social gatherings.

“The only activities we allow in temples are cultural ones like Opera Aida that was performed at the Luxor temple.”

Hussein added that the presence of one of Egypt’s most famous and historic mosques, Abul Haggag Mosque, right next to Luxor Temple makes it more impractical to hold a wedding ceremony in the area.

“How can we allow people to hold noisy celebrations next to the mosque?”

Even if she asked for that, we would definitely refuse. Our temples are not wedding halls. This is an insult.

Supreme Council of Antiquities advisor Mohamed Hussein

Wedding and honeymoon

According to Arab and foreign media reports, the 40-year-old supermodel visited Egypt in early November and decided to hold her wedding on Dec. 7 in Luxor Temple.

Reports added that world famous pop stars like George Michael and Tina Turner will perform in the legendary ceremony, which will be attended by celebrities from all over the world.

Campbell reportedly planned to spend her honey moon in the Old Winter Palace hotel, which overlooks the River Nile. The historic Victorian-style hotel, built in 1886, witnessed the first public appearance of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni in the Christmas of 2007.

Campbell and Doronin met two years ago at the Cannes Film Festival and his proclamation of love came in the form of the most outstanding gift, a 5th century palace that overlooks the Canal Grand in the Italian city of Venice.

Venice is the second suggested venue for the wedding, as the couple is expected to exchange vows in one of the city’s churches after Campbell left her Jewish Kabbalah faith and converted to her future husband’s religion, Orthodox Christianity.

Vladislav Doronin, also known as the Donald Trump of Russia, is one of the most famous Russian businessmen and is the chairman of the Board of Directors of Capitol Group for construction and property investment.

Doronin wanted to marry Campbell last year, but had to wait for the finalization of his divorce from his ex-wife Ekaterina, who only signed the divorce papers after getting $10 million from the 47-year-old Russian tycoon.

Stick Fighting Festival

Had the Egyptian authorities approved holding Naomi Campbell’s wedding, another event due to be held around the same time would have made this impossible. Luxor is preparing for its annual Stick Fighting Festival, to be held on Dec. 10, and thousands of Egyptians have already started flocking to the Upper Egyptian city to witness the famous folkloric event.

The Stick Fighting Festival features 32 experts in “tahteeb”, an Egyptian art that originated in ancient Egypt and involves the use of wooden sticks for striking and defensive moves and is also used in dance performances.

The Luxor Temple area, in which the festival takes place, would not have housed both the fans of stick fighting and the guests of Campbell’s wedding, especially that the latter were likely to stay after the ceremony to explore the historic sites of the city.

Naomi Campbell shot to stardom after she was supported by the late French designer Yves Saint Laurent, who was the reason behind her first cover picture on Vogue magazine in 1988.


(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)